Soroptimist is an organization that focuses on giving women and girls the tools they need to achieve economic empowerment. Elizabeth Perez, pictured on the far left standing in the front row with black rimmed glasses, volunteered for Soroptimist at their Dream it, Be It Career Support for Girls conferences this past year. They recognize that all girls face barriers because of their gender and they have chosen to prioritize working with girls who face additional obstacles due to poverty, unstable home lives, living in foster care, or teen motherhood. This conference aims to “give girls the tools they need to achieve their education and career goals, empowering them to break cycles of poverty, violence, and abuse” and is led here in the Tri-Cities by a group of women from all walks of life.
Elizabeth, who is currently finishing up her pre-requisites for WSU’s Elementary Education Program at CBC, served as a mentor on two separate occasions working with 8th – 9th and 11th – 12th grade girls. Her role was to help provide solutions to common challenges related to life and school, support mentees in the day’s activities, and to dialogue with mentees about her own experience working toward achieving economic empowerment through education.
She says the following about the experience:
“I would say that when I was younger we didn’t have enough all women’s/girls’ conferences or women in this field of work we could ask questions to. Especially as an 8th or 9th grader, I feel like there aren’t enough leaders or mentors focused on trying to help young girls succeed in their chosen careers! We don’t hear about the women in offices who are business leaders, it’s always more male dominated. I loved being a part of this conference and it’s awesome to see girls get inspired and learn about the opportunities available to them.”
Elizabeth hopes to do the same for the girls she interacts with in her volunteer activities and as an elementary educator. She is also passionate about spreading awareness and tolerance of immigrants and hopes to lead change in today’s immigration policies. She is a leader on her campus with a bright smile and undying spirit for helping her community.
by Guadalupe Broetje, Scholars Program Coordinator